by Pete Richmire

SAN DIEGO, CA. – The Tacoma Stars (2-3) let a dominating first half slip away and saw the San Diego Sockers (5-1), who trailed by three in the second half, come from behind and top Tacoma 8-6. In addition to being outscored in the game, Tacoma was decisively outshot by a 43-12 margin in the match. 

Tacoma had most of the momentum in the first five minutes of the match and Vince McCluskey opened scoring, giving the Stars a 1-0 lead on an assist from Chase Hanson with 11:16 left to play in the opening quarter. Thanks to solid defense and keeper Danny Waltman, the Stars were able to survive an onslaught of Sockers shots in the final 10 minutes of the first having given up only one goal. Cesar Cerda leveled the match 1-1 on Christian Gutierrez’s assist with 6:25 on the clock.

The Stars knocked in the only two goals of the second quarter beginning with Mike Ramos’ 8th of the season on a Cory Keitz assist with 13:24 to go in the first half. After Luis Ortega picked up the first blue card of the game for tripping, Perera slid a shootout past Sockers keep Boris Pardo to put Tacoma up 3-1 for the final first half goal. What happened after that goal was an incredible defensive display by the Stars. San Diego out shot Tacoma 15-2 in the frame and had a nearly four-minute man advantage due to two Stars blue cards.

The Stars first blue card came on a too-many men penalty with 7:48 to go. With 11 seconds remaining on the original San Diego power play, McCluskey was sent off for a reckless tackle putting the Stars down two men temporarily. The Sockers could not convert as Waltman and the Stars defense withstood the San Diego attack. After the first 30 minutes of play, Waltman had nine saves and Stars players combined for 14 blocked shots. Tacoma took a 3-1 lead into the locker room. 

The Stars quickly made it a 4-1 lead with 12:54 left in the third on a Jamael Cox unassisted marker. That awoke the San Diego offense and the Sockers claimed the next five goals including two from Slavisa Ubiparipovic, his first to start the rally and second gave the Sockers a 5-4 lead with 7:45 to go in the quarter. Between Ubiparipovic’s goals, Christian Gutierrez and Cerda also found the back of the net for the home team. Travis Pittman scored his third of the year to put San Diego up 6-4 before Perera answered to stop the Sockers rally and make it a 6-5 Tacoma deficit after three quarters.

Tacoma brought the game level at 6-6 when Cory Keitz picked up his first goal of the season on a Waltman assist with 4:53 left in regulation. The final two goals of the match would go to San Diego including Ubiparipovic’s third of the night with 2:05 to play. After Waltman’s assist, Pardo collected one of his own as he found Brian Farber with his outlet pass against six Tacoma attackers to reach the 8-6 final with 25 seconds to go. 

With the win, San Diego stretches their streak to five straight victories and take a 2-0 lead over Tacoma in the season series. The two teams next meet on Sunday March 8 at Pachanga Arena San Diego to kick off three consecutive games between the teams.


1st – TAC McCluskey (Hanson) 3:44; SD Cerda (Gutierrez) 8:35. Penalties – none.

2nd – TAC Ramos (Keitz) 1:36; TAC Perera 6:19 shootout. Penalties – SD Ortega blue card (tripping) 6:19; TAC blue card (too many men) 7:12; TAC McCluskey blue card (reckless tackle) 9:01.

3rd – TAC J. Cox 2:06; SD Ubiparipovic (Escoto) 2:52; SD Gutierrez (De Oliveira) 4:18; SD Cerda (Escoto) 5:34; SD Ubiparipovic 7:15; SD Pittman (Ortega) 9:10; TAC Perera 10:52. Penalties – none.

4th – TAC Keitz (Waltman) 10:07; SD Ubiparipovic (Ortega) 12:55; SD Farber (Pardo) 14:35. Penalties – none.


Attendance – 2,250

The Stars continue their six-game road trip with two matches next week. The Stars visit the St. Louis Ambush on Friday and the Kansas City Comets on Saturday. Kick off is scheduled for 5:35 pm PST and 5:05 pm PST respectively. You can catch all the action on


The Stars are on the road for the next six games before returning to the accesso ShoWare Center on Friday January 10, 2020 when they welcome Western Conference foe Turlock Cal Express to kick off the new year. Game time is 7:35 pm and you can get your tickets at today!

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